In Merrimack County, 4-H Clubs are structured in one of two ways. There are community based clubs and then there are county wide clubs. Membership in these clubs are for youth ages 8-18 (as of Jan 1). Our Cloverbud program is for youths ages 5-7 (as of Jan. 1).
The community based clubs are focused around a particular town and the surrounding communities. However, all 4-H clubs are open to all youth ages 8-18 (as of January 1) and it is not necessary that you belong to a club that is in your town or in a surrounding community, however, most families choose to belong to a club nearby for the ease of travel. These clubs typically meet on a monthly basis for general business meetings. Each club offers a variety of projects such as woodworking, sewing, food science, photography, records, robotics, public speaking, demonstrations, etc… based on the youths interests and the skills of the volunteers working with the club. For these project areas there are usually smaller meetings with the just the youth interested in that one particular area. There is also an animal science component that can be introduced into these clubs. We have curriculum in areas of pets, dogs, poultry, vet science, etc... that a leader will sometimes use within the community club. Community service and citizenship is always a part of the clubs goals too.
The county wide clubs are our animal science clubs and include dog, horse, goat, dairy, working steer, livestock (sheep and beef) and alpaca/llama. These clubs for the benefit of economy of scale operate on a county level. There are opportunities in these clubs for youth with animals as well as those without. Many of the species have quiz bowls, judging, and skill-a-thons. There is also a lease program through 4-H and if this is something that your family is interested in I can send you more information.
Each project area has an opportunity to exhibit at the Hopkinton State Fair which is considered a county event for us in Merrimack and is typically something that the youth look forward to doing but it is not required. There are also additional county level opportunities in areas like public speaking and demonstrations for youth to showcase their work at a county event and from there opportunities to attend state events and potentially even national events as they get older.
4-H is really a comprehensive program focused on developing the whole youth and is considered a family program. Many of our parents are involved at varying levels with the program and learn and grow with their children through their participation.
Contact the 4-H office at 603-796-2151 or email 4-H Program Manager, Laurie Field at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
4-H clubs in Merrimack County are involved in many project areas such as STEM, animal science (horse, dairy, sheep, goats, beef, dogs, etc.), healthy living, food and nutrition, crafts, sewing and textiles, robotics, leadership, Cloverbuds (ages 5-7), environmental science, shooting sports and more!
Youth interested in becoming 4-H members, start by connecting with a 4-H club, or contacting Laurie Field, 4-H Program Manager, for assistance locating a group that best fits the needs of the family. After connecting with a 4-H club, individuals then enroll in 4-H via the 4HOnline system.
PAPER COPY FORMS (for families without access to a computer, or those that do not have an e-mail account)
4-H volunteer leaders work directly with youth, teaching a variety of skills. Volunteers play a vital role in the ongoing growth and development of the youth they work with. Becoming a 4-H volunteer not only helps positively impact youth, but also is a great growth opportunity for the volunteer as well. Adults interested in becoming 4-H leaders, start the screening process by submitting an application to become a 4-H volunteer.